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Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
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  #16  
Old 18 Aug 2012
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Hard road

You asked: if it is just hard road, then that will not be an issue

It is mainly desert hard road used by trucks, like in this photo taken on this route.

I would appreciate if you can send me your other alternate tracks to compare, and from what source are they.
tomongolia@gmail.com

Dan
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  #17  
Old 18 Aug 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danmongolia View Post
You asked: if it is just hard road, then that will not be an issue

It is mainly desert hard road used by trucks, like in this photo taken on this route.

I would appreciate if you can send me your other alternate tracks to compare, and from what source are they.
tomongolia@gmail.com

Dan
Ahh, thanks dan,yes that road is easy, I had visions of Dakar rally sand dune roads





Well, when I say easy I mean it is doable on a Vstrom, I have done worse than that here in Kaz during the road construction detours

Which tracks are you talking about? Those tracks on the map above are not
mine to give but were given to me by a Vstrom rider called Alex who just rode from east to west.

I can certainly ask him and see what he says, but what would you be using them for, not commercial use I assume?


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TS
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  #18  
Old 18 Aug 2012
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Hi

You say: I notice your track is nowhere near any of the marked trails on Garmoin Global map in BC

What trails? I would like to compare.

Dan
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  #19  
Old 18 Aug 2012
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I was in the area in mid 2010.

I did not cross the Chinese border, but I did visit the town of Bulgan. I came down from Olgi, left the 'main' road at Tolbo (beautiful lake), then cut straight down via Deluun and Bulgan (in Bayan Olgi) to Bulgan in Khovd (the town close to the border). The road was pretty stunning, but perhaps the toughest I've ever driven on - a rough 3000m pass (which must make it about the highest 'road' in Mongolia), and some really tricky, steep rock-crawling sections which would I imagine (I am not a biker) be damn dangerous if not impossible on a heavily loaded bike. There was also a section where we had to drive along (not just across) a river for 100m or so, and then tractor up a very steep, muddy riverbank. Reaching Bulgan's ASPHALT was heaven.

From Bulgan, there is a good asphalt road running east. Like many of the new roads in Mongolia, it does not necessarily follow the 'main' roads on the map, and in 2010 it was not completed. It went through Uyench, Altay (Khovd Province), then Barlag which is not marked on all maps. From here I left the road and went off-piste to the wild horses at Takhyn Tal, but the locals seemed to be saying the road turned northish from here and joined the 'main' road somewhere between Khovd and Altay (Gov Altay Province), perhaps in Dzereg, though communication with people was not easy here.

So the bottom line is, leaving Bulgan you will most likely alternate between asphalt, road-bed and diversions. I wouldn't worry too much about road conditions - in the desert the tracks are usually pretty good as the traffic is light and there are very few rivers. The region is beautiful, especially crossing the Altyn Nur mountains, though it's duller to the north. on the 'main' road. That 'main' road was rather corrugated, but doable.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1136194...61058807780130

I would always recommend going off-piste however in Mongolia - seeing wild horses in the NP was amazing. Just don't try the road straight north!

Good luck, I envy you riding through northern Xinjiang - would love to drive back there.

Daniel
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  #20  
Old 18 Aug 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danmongolia View Post
Hi

You say: I notice your track is nowhere near any of the marked trails on Garmoin Global map in BC

What trails? I would like to compare.

Dan
OK this is the Global Map from Basecamp, where your track comes out of the border into Mongolia it follows a track to the east, but then when I expected it to follow a track to the north to Kvod, it goes instead further east and north

Obviously there is some incorrect date somewhere



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  #21  
Old 18 Aug 2012
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Hi Richard,

Were the 2 green tracks meet is where we're trucked from. There is a small village here (should show on OSM) they have petrol, a couple of shops and some of the locals rent out rooms. There is a few English speakers in the town, including the school teacher who is really good.

From here there is actually about 50ks of brand new paved road heading east. The thing with this road is beacause the Chinese are also building a new paved road all the way along the south (and way you are coming from) in many places you riding alongside and over this new road. Where this is the case the tracks are quite as nice as normal tracks where there is no road construction.
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  #22  
Old 18 Aug 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravellingStrom View Post
OK this is the Global Map from Basecamp, where your track comes out of the border into Mongolia it follows a track to the east, but then when I expected it to follow a track to the north to Kvod, it goes instead further east and north

Obviously there is some incorrect date somewhere



Cheers
TS
Hi mate

Nice pictures on the blog - and good to see the Mongo embassy has finally move to Astana.

You should take the above as a premonition of travelling in Mongolia. You can't really rely on any maps, as all but the biggest roads are basically ephemeral dirt tracks which twist / split / rejoin others. The new roads which are popping up are often not following the old dirt tracks, hence the discrepancies. I would be surprised if you could find a decent GPS map which covered all the out-of-the-way tracks here and there...

But, the joy is that, as long as you are following some tracks (and often even if you're not), and you're not heading for a huge mountain or deep / fast river, you will pretty much find a way to go. It may not be the smoothest or the most direct, but I don't think I ever really got very lost and had to backtrack more than a few kms. Plus there are people living pretty much everywhere, who you can ask. It's a cool country, not like anywhere else, but it takes a while to get used to the change in travelling philosphy. As long as you have enough water and fuel, you can go anywhere and stop anywhere... enjoy!

I remember one section, after visiting some staggering petroglyphs at Ikh Bayan Uul in the far south, we just cut across pristine desert for 100kms or so (sometimes following some tracks, sometimes not) on a bearing, until we hit the big dunes in the south (which we skirted), then drove through. I doubt there are many places where you can travel like this, so enjoy it and try to avoid the temptation to plan everything and stick to the main roads. It was always the diversions and side trips where we saw the most interesting stuff (petroglyphs, dunes, volcanic plugs, camels, wild horses etc) and where the people were friendliest.

Daniel
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  #23  
Old 18 Aug 2012
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@Craig I can see a small name called Mankhan, that must be the one you mean, Thanks Craig

@Dan - I am getting the feeling that will be the way of it. But, don't forget, this is not the reason we are going to Mongolia, our sole reason is to bypass Xinjiang province due to travel restrictions. This whole dtour will add two weeks to the tour and our sole reason for going here is to get to UB to apply for the 2nd set of China visas to allow us to re-enter China at Erenhot.

That is why I am trying to find information now about the conditions etc, because without knowledge, we cannot plan on ANY diversions from the primary goal, VISA, with out that, we are stuck in Mongolia.

I may be a worry wart, but I call it forward planning or being prepared and my bike os not designed for offroad, unlike the others, so I don't want MY problems to hold everyone else back.

If my mind is clear on the things ahead, I can ride with more confidence.

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  #24  
Old 18 Aug 2012
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OK, I see... but you are entering Mongolia from Xinjiang??

In that case, just stick to the main road (follow the trucks) and join the Khovd - Altay road and just keep on it. There are a few hundred kms of asphalt to UB, so that will be the smoothest and most certain route.

Good luck

Daniel
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  #25  
Old 18 Aug 2012
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Yep, they changed the rules a few weeks back, we can enter Xinjiang and exit, but we cannot exit into ANOTHER chinese province, stupid rule, so we had to cut new paper and replan the route.

It totally screwed our Himalayas experience, but hopefully we can salvage something, but two different tours meant the price went up
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  #26  
Old 18 Aug 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravellingStrom View Post
@Craig I can see a small name called Mankhan, that must be the one you mean, Thanks Craig
That's the one, there is also a fuel station on the hwy outside the village I have just remembered.


Quote:
I may be a worry wart, but I call it forward planning or being prepared and my bike os not designed for offroad, unlike the others, so I don't want MY problems to hold everyone else back.
The main route is okay (hell we slept in the back of a truck along it) it is just the river crossing, that you will avoid if you go north from Altai City and skirt back down south after this, you still get to do most of the asphalt back into UB.

Best of luck. If you end having to go back to Russia I have some great contacts on the way to Vladisvostok. Hopefully this is not this case!
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  #27  
Old 19 Aug 2012
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Nope, no more Russia, no visa and could not be bothered trying a transit visa. Also, Lorraine got kicked out and told not to come back for 6 months

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TS
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  #28  
Old 19 Aug 2012
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Originally Posted by craig.iedema View Post

The main route is okay (hell we slept in the back of a truck along it) it is just the river crossing,
So, this was when you got broken, I remember reading about it, but could not picture the area.

How long did it take you from that village to UB? Did the truck park up or continue 24h

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  #29  
Old 19 Aug 2012
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Left about 10 at night drove pretty much non stop except for a couple of repairs and food. Arrived about 48 hours later at Oasis UB.

You would be quicker on a bike.
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  #30  
Old 19 Aug 2012
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Well, maybe quicker, but we would not be riding all day and night. So, I guess we can probably factor in a 4 day ride taking it easy

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